Morgan, Robert. Brave enemies; a novel of the American Revolution.

Author:Rosser, Claire
Position:Young Adult Review - Book Review - Brief Article

Algonquin Books, Workman. 309p. map. c2003. 1-56512-356-5. $24.95. SA*

The publishers may not have intended this book specifically for a YA audience, but the reality is that it is an excellent novel for YAs, and one that teachers will want to consider as a curriculum choice. The main character, Josie, is a 16-year-old girl living in the Carolinas during the chaos of the Revolutionary War. Her story is one of nonstop action, told in spare, utterly captivating prose. Josie is raped by her brutal stepfather (a Loyalist sympathizer); she murders him, disguises herself as a boy by cutting her hair and wearing the stepfather's clothes, and runs away in a panic. Hungry and guilt-ridden, she takes refuge in a country church, introducing herself as "Joseph," and the young preacher offers her shelter. The preacher, John, starts his own narrative account of their relationship and what befalls them, alternating with Josie's narrative. For weeks the two are companions, as John says. "like Paul and Silas." until the day he discovers his companion is actually a girl. A complicated marriage follows.

While they are visiting the little country churches of John's ministry, the couple see firsthand the violence all around them: neighbor betraying neighbor--Loyalists attacking Patriots, Patriots attacking Loyalists--lynching, rape, torture, suspicion everywhere. John...

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